Disney World Ticket Types Explained (Plus How to Best Use a Park Hopper Ticket!)

Magic Kingdom at Night from Bay Lake Tower

When visiting Walt Disney World, you’ll have to decide how many days you’ll visit the theme parks and what type of park tickets you’ll purchase. In this post, I’ll review the Disney World ticket types that are currently offered to help you decide what will work best for your family. I’ll also give you some of my favorite ways to use a park hopper ticket. Here we go:

Disney World Ticket Types Characters Waving at Magic Kingdom

Disney World Ticket Types

Standard Theme Park Ticket

The Standard Theme Park Ticket is also known as the 1 Park Per Day ticket. This is the least expensive option. With this ticket type, you will receive admission to ONE of the 4 Walt Disney World theme parks each day. You may leave the park and re-enter the same park later that day. But you will not be able to enter a different theme park that day.

1 Park Per Day with Water and Sports Option

With this ticket type, you will receive admission to one theme park per day as described above.  Plus, you will be able to enjoy a certain number of visits to some fun extras. The number of visits you receive will depend on the number of theme park tickets purchased. For example, a 1-day theme park ticket allows one visit to one of the extras listed below, a 3-day ticket allows 3 visits, etc. These visits will be in addition to your theme park tickets, so you can choose to use them on the same day you go to a theme park or a different day. For each visit, you can choose one of the following:

  • Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park
  • Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course
  • Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course – FootGolf
  • Disney’s Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf Course (prior to 4 PM)
  • Disney’s Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Course (prior to 4 PM)

Park Hopper Option

Adding on the Park Hopper Option to your Standard Theme Park Ticket will allow you to visit more than one park on the same day. With a Park Hopper, you will start your day at the theme park you reserved.  Beginning at 2:00 PM, you will be able to enter any of the other parks without a park reservation.  

Park Hopper Plus Option

The Park Hopper Plus Option is almost identical to the 1 Park Per Day with Water and Sports Option described above, so check out that section for more details. The only difference is that instead of only being able to visit one theme park per day, you will be able to visit more than one park on the same day. You will start your day at the theme park where you made your park reservation. Then you will be able to enter any of the other parks beginning at 2:00 PM without a park reservation.

Annual Passes

When annual passes are available for purchase, there are different types of Disney annual passes that consist of different benefits. Some passes allow you to enter the park on any day, while others have certain “blackout” dates in which you will not be able to use your annual pass. Some passes have the water and sports option and others do not. Make sure to read through all the benefits of each pass on Disney’s website prior to purchasing, so you know exactly what it entails. Annual passes are most useful when you live close by or when you will be taking at least 2-3 separate trips to Walt Disney World throughout the year.

What you Need to Know About Disney Theme Park Ticket Pricing

The more days you spend at the parks, the less you’ll pay per day for your park tickets. Because of this, it’s best to choose just one ticket type for your entire trip. Pricewise, it doesn’t make sense to get 1 Park Per Day tickets for part of your trip and Park Hopper tickets for part of your trip. You’ll pay more doing that than just purchasing Park Hopper tickets for your entire trip since you get a discount on tickets the more days you buy.

Ticket prices vary by day. Some days will cost more to enter the park than others. BUT when purchasing tickets, you’ll choose the date in which you will use your very first ticket of the trip. Your total ticket price for the entire trip will change based on the first day you select.  If your total trip is longer than the number of days you will be visiting the parks, you can save money by being flexible regarding which day you first go to a park during your vacation.

When going through the process of purchasing your theme park tickets, the final selection you will make will be how many tickets you will need for people aged 10+ and how many tickets you will need for people aged 3-9. Kids aged 3-9 get a slight discount on park tickets. Kids under 3 are free! They will not need a theme park ticket or a theme park reservation to enter a park during your trip. You can also purchase discounted tickets on Disney’s website if you are a Florida resident.

Other Important Things to Know

When you purchase your theme park tickets, you will be notified when your ticket expires. The ticket expiration date is always later than the amount of theme park days you purchased. So, you do not need to go to the parks on consecutive days. If you added the water and sports option or hopper plus option, the later expiration date on the ticket will also allow you time to use those extra visits.

There are no water park reservations at Walt Disney World at this time. So don’t worry about having to reserve that prior to your trip!  If you would like to golf during your Disney vacation, walk-ups are accommodated based on availability. BUT it is highly recommended that you reserve a tee time (and that includes mini golf!). You can make these reservations up to 60 days in advance by calling (407) WDW-PLAY or (407) 939-7529.

Finally, no matter which Disney World ticket type you purchase, you MUST make a theme park reservation! You will book your park reservation via the Disney Park Pass System. Prior to booking, make sure your tickets are linked to your My Disney Experience account. If you purchased a 1 Park Per Day ticket, you will make the reservation for the park you want to visit for that entire day.  If you added the Hopper Option onto your ticket, you will make the reservation for the park you want to start your day at. Beginning at 2:00 PM, you will be able to enter any other park(s) without a reservation pending park capacity.

Need help choosing which Disney parks you want to visit with your family? Check out this post.

Is Adding the Park Hopper Option to Your Ticket Worth It?

Adding the Park Hopper Option onto your theme park tickets definitely adds to the cost. But there can be huge benefits to not being tied to one single park each day. We almost always purchase Park Hopper tickets when we visit Walt Disney World. We just love having the flexibility during our theme park days. Here are some of the top reasons we purchase Park Hopper tickets:

  • To allow us to return to a park to redo a ride/attraction we loved.
  • To allow us to return to a park to be able to do something we missed.
  • To be able to watch a firework show at the park of our choice no matter where we started our day.
  • To be able to make a dinner reservation at any theme park.
  • To have the ability to visit all the parks even if our total vacation time doesn’t allow for 4 park days.
  • To give us more options if we’re done at a park early in the day.

The hopper pass works especially well if your resort is close to one of the parks and has easy transportation options. For example, it’s almost guaranteed that when we stay at the BoardWalk, we’ll start one of our days by taking the bus to the Magic Kingdom, come back to the resort for a midday rest, then walk over to Epcot to grab dinner.

(Here’s a super quick overview of the resorts with the best transportation options to the parks: if you stay at the BoardWalk or Yacht & Beach Club, you’ll be within walking distance of and have boat access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. If you stay at the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, or Contemporary, you will be in walking distance of or have boat and/or monorail access to Magic Kingdom and Epcot. If you stay at the Riviera, Caribbean Beach, or Art of Animation, you will have Skyliner access to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.)

Ok! There it is! Everything you need to know about Walt Disney World ticket types. Whether you’re being budget conscious and purchasing the 1 Park Per Day tickets. Or you’re ready to see all that Disney has to offer with the Park Hopper Plus Option. (Or you’re somewhere in between!). You’re bound to have a great time during your vacation.

To book your tickets or review each ticket type, head over to Disney’s website. For more information on planning your Disney vacation, click here.

Want to learn all about how to use Disney Genie+? Check out my full guide for Genie+ here.

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